Digital Advertising in 2021: Maximizing Your ROI

According to Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2020-2021, 74% of marketers expect to spend more on digital advertising and 66% on paid search. Nearly 80% of B2C marketers and 69% of B2B marketers say that they’ll invest more in digital advertising in 2021. eMarketer predicts that social video ad spending only will reach $14.89 billion next year, accounting for 30.4% of total video ad spending. 

That’s a lot of money to be spent.

As digital ad spending will bounce back next year, it’s time for brands to look at the hottest trends in this area for 2021 and how to use those trends to increase advertising ROI. 

1. Video advertising  

With the Covid-19 outbreak and advances in smartphones, tablets and streaming services, the use of videos for advertising has evolved well beyond the confines of cable TV. In the U.S., 80% of consumers are now paying for streaming video services, up from 73% before the pandemic began. They also spend at least 100 minutes watching videos on mobile devices each day. Considering the rapid rise of TikTok and Instagram Reel, the breakneck growth of social video advertising is unlikely to slow. 

What you should do now:

  • Conduct a PPC audit to review the performance, costs, and returns of your ad campaigns, ad groups, and individual ads on social media and other digital advertising networks (e.g., Google Ads, Bing Ads). 
  • Do thorough research on TikTok and Instagram Reels to see if your target audiences are on these platforms and if you can run ads to promote your brand. For example, TikTok’s audience demographics are young people, with 69% of the app’s user base aged 13 to 24. If you’re selling products or services to these target segments, TikTok is worth trying. 

2. Purpose-driven digital advertising 

Purpose-led advertising isn’t a brand new marketing trend, but if we look back in 2020, we’ll see that this type of advertising is only set to rise in popularity and importance in 2021. Why? Because more and more people are looking to interact with brands that care about their safety and community. Hence, brands that put their purpose front and center will stand out from the crowd, as Alicia Tillman, CMO of SAP, said: “During any crisis, it becomes really a test of the strength of your brand, and how well your brand understands what most matters to people right now.”

What you should do now:

  • Use brand tracking tools to collect customer insights and determine a cause that your business can get behind. Ask yourself, “What is most needed from your brand?” “How can you help your customers and contribute to society?” These are important questions you need to answer at every decision point. 
  • Once you gather insights, put them into your brand strategy and figure out your cause. Whether you’re donating a portion of your products or revenues to those in need, as long as it matches your brand values and mission, it’s good to go. 
  • Implement a personalized exit content throughout your website to ensure maximum conversion possible. High percentage of readership tends to leave your pages quickly, and this way, you’re making sure to offer another chance to stick around and they surely will, if they’re one of your target groups that’s really interested in your content.

3. Authenticity

The Internet is now full of fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories, not to mention data breaches and privacy leaks. That’s why being authentic, genuine, transparent, and even vulnerable will be smart marketing in 2021. Brands need to focus on highlighting the truth and silence “fake news.” They should be personified in a way that reveals who they stand for and what they stand for. 

What you should do now:

  • Let customers spread the word about your brand and collect user-generated content (UGC) to showcase your brand’s genuinity. UGC can range from testimonials to fun and snappy Reels-style edits of how to use your product. You can even repost UGC among platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Koji.
  • Check and update all the information on your website, from shipping, return, and refund policy to FAQs section. Also, display your donation activities if possible and make sure to use live chat options for increased engagement. 

4. Advertising personalization

Customers increasingly expect a personalized experience, as they want to be recognized, remembered, and provided relevant offers and recommendations (Personalization Pulse Check report, Accenture Interactive). Embracing this trend into your advertising strategy means you use insights into who a customer might be to increase the relevancy of an ad. These insights can be as simple as the customer’s needs, demographics, geolocation to more specific insights like niche interests, buying intent, or behavioral patterns. 

What you should do now:

  • Use the right marketing tools to do research on consumer behaviors to understand what they want to see and what they want to get.
  • Review your ad and post-click landing page carefully to make sure the messages and offers are consistent. 

Final thoughts

Digital advertising rarely stays the same year-after-year. And with uncertainty becoming the new norm, things might change even faster than ever. Having said that, brands that keep up with trends and adjust their strategies accordingly can survive and thrive despite circumstances. 

Start getting your digital advertising efforts aligned with four trends above, and you’ll see significant improvement in your advertising ROI in 2021. 

About the author: Sidney R

Sidney is an editor and copywriter for Top Online Store Builders, covering topics ranging from starting an online store from scratch to all aspects of ecommerce marketing and cyber-security. When not writing, Sidney can be found hiking, traveling or surfing.

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